John XXIII's Former Secretary: "I Was a Little Servant Among Many"

Cardinal Capovilla Remembers Joy of Working Closely with Soon-to-Be Canonized Pope

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Cardinal Loris Capovilla, the former personal secretary of John XXIII, has said the former Pontiff’s canonization should encourage us to look towards the future rather than be nostalgic about the past.

Speaking to Vatican Radio April 22nd, the 98 year-old cardinal said we are not called to be custodians of a shrine, a reliquary or a museum but rather to be custodians of a garden where is sown the seed of the Word , of the Word Incarnate.

The long serving secretary to John XXIII added that the faithful are called to cultivate a garden, to foster the advent of a new Pentecost, a new Easter, a new Spring, not just for our personal joy but for the joy of all of humanity, Vatican Radio reported.

“The encyclical of Pope Francis, ‘Evangelii Gaudium’, is good news but what is this good news? It is that I am a son of God and God does not abandon me,” he said. “How wonderful it is to hear our present pope say every day or almost every day : ‘Jesus rejects nobody, he waits for every one of us to come to Him’.”

Recalling memories of working for Blessed John XXIII, Cardinal Capovilla said he never considered himself as a collaborator but as a little servant among many others who saw in the Pope someone sent by God. “I never felt I was collaborator or a secretary and still less an advisor,” he said. “I would have perceived this as a scandalous assumption.

“What I did experience, however, was the joy that came with being close to a man who was certainly guided by God and who set the seed for the future of the Church, although I could not grasp to the full what was in his soul,” he explained. “As I said, he set the seed for the future.”

Finally, when asked what the actual day of the canonisation represents for him who shared so much with John XXIII, Cardinal Capovilla replied that for him it would be a day like any other in the calendar.

“This is because for Christians, all the days in the calendar are festive and represent a reason to celebrate. For he who believes,” he insisted, “it’s always Easter, always the Resurrection,” he told Vatican Radio.

“Just to look to the heavens, or to beat one’s breast after having received the Eucharist is a great gift, a precious treasure, a great mystery of grace and light,” he said. “For us it’s always time to celebrate.”

Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.


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